Wednesday, September 07, 2011
A lazy Sunday in the Charente
It was back in 2003 that we upped sticks and moved into a gite in the middle of a vineyard in a tiny hamlet called Mainxe.
We soon made friends with the headmaster of the small local school and learned that he was also President of the aero-modelisme club. He led us behind the school playing fields into the vines.
Lo and behold there was a 200m tarmac runway, with wind sock where, each Sunday, he (and other enthusiasts) fly their model planes.
Every summer they have a big show where hundreds of people gather to watch a day long display - as well as to eat, drink and generally have a good time. The highlight for us has always been when they load up the planes with sweets attached to parachutes and the local kids stand on the runway and try to grab the bon bons as they fall to earth.
This year they had the champion of France give an acrobatics demonstration which was, even to my untrained eye, pretty impressive.
My two girls have now outgrown the sweetie grab but we did all enjoy the egg chasing.
The organisers loaded half a dozen eggs into the planes and then dropped them in by parachute. A motley crew of spectators were given frying pans and set off chasing them through the vines (it was a windy day).
It was the kind of afternoon that Peter Mayle would have written about and people would have thought he was making it up. It was simply delightful and the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Vive la France....